Brandon Williams, the deaf quarterback of Gallaudet University, played last Saturday with a helmet that many describe as a complete game-changer.
AT&T collaborated with Gallaudet in Washington, D.C., the global leader in education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, to create the first prototype of a new helmet that instantly transmits signals to the quarterback from the coach.
The university’s senior public relations manager, Robert Weinstock, explains that before, the coach stood on the sidelines, signaling with his hands to get the key quarterback’s attention. This proved impractical because it created confusion, penalties and game delays.
With this new helmet, the coach can now use an iPad that sends signals directly to the quarterback, displaying the information over their right eye and allowing the coach to command the team live.
This innovative technology is still under development. The NCAA granted a one-time waiver for Gallaudet to use the 5G-connected helmet in last Saturday’s game.
Chuck Goldstein, the head coach, spoke about the team’s future with the arrival of this breakthrough technology.
“If we can get all of our players in this then that would mean we would have a 100 percent level playing field,” he said.
Corrections: This story has been updated to properly describe the quarterback’s hearing status, Robert Weinstock’s title and the helmet’s state of approval.